Hollande visit: Pathankot, Paris put terrorism high on agenda

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New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) Following the terror attacks in Pathankot this year and in Paris last year, terrorism will figure high during French President Francois Hollande’s visit to India from January 24 to 26, a senior official said on Thursday.

“Following the horrendous attack in Paris and the recent terrorist attack in the Pathankot air base, it would be worth highlighting that cooperation between France and India on matters related to counter-terrorism has acquired a very significant dimension,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said at a media briefing here.

“Both France and India are victims of terrorism and we can expect a lot of discussions on this particular issue,” he said.

At least seven Indian security personnel were killed in a cross-border terror attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot on January 2.

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On November 13 last year, at least 130 people were killed in a series of coordinated terror attacks in Paris.

Stating that India’s bilateral relationship with France was very comprehensive, Swarup said it covered a number of sectors such as defence, civil nuclear cooperation, railways, smart cities, science and research, space, and culture.

“In all these areas, we expect some forward progress during the French president’s visit,” he said.

“On the business side also, we have strong ties with bilateral trade of around $8 billion of which $5 billion are India’s exports to France,” the spokesman said.

According to Swarup, a CEOs’ forum will be held in Chandigarh, where Hollande will land first on January 24, as well as an India-France business summit “at which we expect a number of B2B agreements to be signed in the presence of the two leaders”.

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During the course of the French leader’s visit, the foundation stone of the interim secretariat of the International Solar Alliance will also be laid in Gurgaon.

The alliance, an initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was launched jointly with Hollande on November 30 last year during the Paris climate summit.

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